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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Judd-A-Thon 2023

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Update, Aug. 31, 2023 / Kindly note that in order to be guaranteed a collectable, commemorative t-shirt, participants planning to walk/run/stroll/skip/summersault in the annual Judd-A-Thon are urged to register by Fri., Sept. 1. Sponsors are still welcome to show support that will give them lots of kudos and shout-outs by the Navy Veteran with the microphone during the event set for Sun., Sept. 17.

Judd-A-Thon 2023 Sponsor Form             Judd-A-Thon 2023 Registration Form

Original Post, Aug. 5, 2023 / If you’re reading this in the morning with a donut in one hand, or perhaps later in the day with a beer, stop! Put down the paper and grab another donut or beer, or both! You’ll need all the carbs your body can process, and then some if you plan on taking part in this year’s grueling, mentally crushing, physically challenging 10th Anniversary Naperville VFW Post 0.1K Judd-a-Thon!

This “race” is just around the corner (September 17), and as usual, it takes no prisoners. No, it’s not like the silly Tour de France where a participant has all kinds of assistance and support from a bunch of helpers in a car; it’s not the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon beach stroll either (they’re in Hawaii for Pete’s sake – how tough can it be?); and don’t even think of comparing it to the Iditarod…the dogs do all the work there.

The Judd-a-Thon is a life changing experience, where you, my timid reader, run, walk, skip or even summersault yourself across 0.1K of real estate. For those of you who are distance- measurement-challenged out there, 0.1K is about the same distance as the length of a football field! Yes, you read that correctly. The gauntlet has been thrown.

So where is the payoff, you’re asking. Well, each participant receives a goodie bag with a t-shirt, race bib, and assorted swag. But wait, there’s more. No, not a Ginzu Knife, even better: a small oval sticker for your car’s back window letting every other driver know, that has the temerity to pull up behind you in traffic, that you completed the Judd-a-Thon 0.1K. If that’s not enough, there’s a Lima Lima flyover, raffles, meat on the grill, music and more family fun and camaraderie than a Norman Rockwell painting!

But the real satisfaction comes from knowing that every penny raised goes to the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, MI.

For background, the National Home was founded in 1925 as a place where the families left behind by war could remain together, keeping the family circle complete, even when their serviceman did not return home. The National Home has evolved over the years to address today’s additional challenges of re-integration, post-traumatic stress, unemployment and rehabilitation. The focus, however, remains on the children. It’s the VFW family way of lending a hand up, not a hand out, to those in need.

So lace up those running shoes, don your brightest Lululemon matching outfits and start training! Entry and Sponsor Forms are available in any self-respecting business and also online.

Race Coordinator’s Note: Earbuds are allowed on the course, but several complaints were made last year that the run was over before the first song on the playlist was completed. We therefore recommend that if you just have to listen to a song to motivate you, then run slower.

Memories of 2021 Judd-a-thon Warm Ups / Riverwalk Grand Pavilion

Ray McGury, Bob Latkowsky, Pablo Araya and Dave Szablewski stand at attention during the playing of the National Anthem. (PN File Photo)
Dave Szablewski led the participants in pre-race warm-ups. (PN File Photo)
“Dave Szablewski encourages Lou Keltzo in knocking out ten push-ups while I count. I believe Lou is about 80 years old…Korean War Veteran,” noted Pablo Araya. (PN File Photo)

Dave Szablewski, Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant USMC, a 45-year resident of Naperville, passed away on July 23, 2023, at his home from pancreatic cancer. Dave was 72. Dave will be remembered for the many ways he inspired others.

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P. Araya
P. Araya
Pablo Araya grew up in Naperville and enjoys writing about his experiences in the Navy, the FBI and growing up in the best town around. Contact Pablo at boblow9913@gmail.com.
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